Among the many wineries in the Niagara region, VIENI ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS stands out for its distinctly Italian character. Located on 175 acres on the brow of the Niagara Escarpment among the rolling hills of the Vinemount Ridge 190 meters above sea level, VIENI is Italian to its very core. The word “VIENI” means “come” and indeed all are welcomed to visit the estate to enjoy wine, one of life’s great pleasures.
The winery is the brainchild of principal owner Pasquale Raviele, who always wanted to bring a part of Italy to Ontario. Pasquale, who was born in Italy, worked hard to achieve success in Canada as the president of Toronto’s Direct Upholstery. His passion for wine, one of Italy’s treasures, never left him. In July 2013, VIENI ESTATES WINE&SPIRITS marked its official grand opening and enjoyed a successful first season.
Although many types of grapes are grown on the estate, the Italian “roots” are evident throughout. For instance, VIENI is the only Canadian grower and producer of Aglianico, the bold, aromatic, savoury red wine that hails from the southern regions of Basilicata and Campania, Pasquale’s home region. Now famous as the principal grape of Taurasi wines, the grape’s lineage is in fact millennia old – Aglianico was brought to Italy by the ancient Greeks who considered it a prized possession. Centuries later, Pasquale has brought it to Canada.
Italian influence is not limited to the grapes, however. The resident winemaker is Mauro Salvador, who trained at Scuola Enologica di Conegliano, Italy’s oldest and most respected winemaking school. Inspired by a blend of tradition and modernity, Mauro uses The Natural Control Method to create VIENI’s Aglianico in the appassimento or amarone style. The grapes are allowed to dry naturally without any mechanical assistance. The consistent breezes over the Niagara Escarpment do all the work naturally.
The estate is offering a 2011 Aglianico Al Passo as well as a 2010 Aglianico Reserve. The 2011 Aglianico Al Passo is currently being sold in select LCBO Vintages stores. Mauro also uses many other Italian techniques, including the Charmat method or Metodo Italiano (Italian Method) for making Prosecco-style sparkling wines. In this process the secondary fermentation that produces the bubbles occurs in autoclaves which are large sealed stainless steel pressure tanks. The Italian Method produces smoother, lighter sparkling wines with assured uniformity between bottles.
Besides favourites like Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, VIENI makes wines from its seventeen grape varieties to suit every palate and type of food. The estate is among the first in Ontario to make grappa and spirits distilled from the many fruits of Ontario. Grappa, Italy’s grape-based brandy, is given a Canadian spin and sold as Graspa. The wines and spirits can be sampled daily at VIENI’s wine boutique.
VIENI ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS also boasts a B&B for those who would like a respite from the hustle and bustle. Every room has a view of the lush vineyard where guests can participate in wine tasting tours, match favourite wines with home cooked dishes, throw shots at the estate’s Bocce Courtyard, swim a few laps in the outdoor pool or hike the adjacent Bruce Trail.
VIENI ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS is located at 4553 Fly Road in Beamsville. The winery is open to the public daily from May to October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 905-563-6521, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vieni.ca. Wines are available for purchase at the estate’s wine boutique as well as the LCBO.